Archive for

Make Your College Campus Visits, Virtually

While in-person admissions visits at Michigan’s top 14 private colleges and universities have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, prospective students can still explore these beautiful campuses with the click of a button!

With virtual tours available, you can still get the chance to “walk” the campus, see and feel what life could be like for the next four years. The online tours not only give you a peak into each campus, but many schools even allow you to schedule an online information session with a live admissions counselor!  Get your questions answered and make an informed choice now from the comfort of your home.

Get more information in the links below:

Adrian College Virtual Tour

Albion College | Sign up for a Virtual Experience

Alma College Virtual Tour  |  Schedule a Virtual Visit

Andrews University Virtual Tour  |  Sign up for a Virtual Preview

Aquinas College Virtual Tour  |  Schedule a Virtual Personal Visit

Calvin University Virtual Tour  |  Schedule a Virtual Visit

Hillsdale College Virtual Tour  |  Schedule a Virtual Visit

Hope College Virtual Tour  |  Schedule a Virtual Visit

Kalamazoo College Virtual Tour  |  Schedule a Virtual Visit

Madonna University Campus Tour Video  |  Schedule a Virtual Visit

Olivet College Virtual Tour

Siena Heights University Virtual Tour

Spring Arbor University Virtual Tour  |  Schedule a Virtual Visit

University of Detroit Mercy Virtual Tour  |  Sign up for a Virtual Information Session

When is the best time to visit colleges?

(Albion College, voted 12th Most Beautiful College in Winter)

It’s winter, and the tundra is setting in – at least it is here in Michigan. The last thing you are thinking about is planning a trip to visit campuses. Those long walks across snow-covered quads are certainly less appealing when the temperatures are teetering at the same level as the number of layers you’ll be wearing to stay warm. Or maybe you are a freshman or sophomore, and it’s just “not time yet.”

So, “When is the best time to visit?”  The answer may not be what you expect.  Here are some tips for getting the most out of campus visits:

Time of year:
As summer strolls in and the school year winds down, families across the country are gearing with plans to visit college campuses. Tours are crowded, staff is minimal, and quads are relatively barren. Although the summer months are more convenient for your time, ideally you should try to plan your visits when classes are in session and the campuses are full of life.  Think of it like trying on a pair of new shoes: do you get the proper assessment while sitting? No, you get up, walk around, and perhaps jog in them… as it should also be done visiting campuses. Simulate the day-to-day as if you are attending the school. It doesn’t necessarily mean go in the dead of winter, but consider this: it may be cold, but it’ll also be cold while you attend, won’t it?

Age of student:
It can be very rewarding to visit colleges and universities before your junior and senior year (read: before it’s decision time). You are less concerned about choosing and “buying” when you are simply “window shopping” and more interested in checking out the inventory. Expose yourself to as many different kinds of places—big schools, small schools, research universities, liberal arts colleges, urban campuses, places way out in the country—to develop a broad perspective of all the different options. Then, when it is time to make a decision, you’ll have a better foundation on which to choose.

Before stepping foot on the first campus (and each one after that…):
Your new mantra: Relax, enjoy, decide later. Resist the impulse to judge immediately, good or bad. Your first reaction is bound to be emotional, and usually overly positive—college is really cool! Sleep on it. Weigh your impressions against the other schools you visit and try to remain as objective as possible so your rose-colored glasses don’t allow you to overlook things.

How to choose:
As you visit the campuses, allow your senses to guide you. Really like something? Take note of it. Feel like something’s missing? Take note of it. Gut instinct is usually pretty accurate. Additionally, the perceptions from your visits will come in handy when completing your college applications. Remember this: tying personal experience to the campus environment will blow the minds of the admissions department!

What to look for:
Focus on fit. We perform at our best when we have a level of comfort, belonging, and value. Questions to ask yourself: How does the college meet my academic needs? Will I be challenged appropriately? Is the style of instruction a good match for how I learn? Does the college offer a community that makes me feel “at home?” Does the college offer extracurricular activities that interest me?

After the visit, before you leave:
Connect with the recruiter. Colleges and universities typically assign admissions personnel to different areas of the country for recruiting efficiency. If your area’s recruiter is available, definitely introduce yourself. Either way, get that person’s contact information. Consider him/her as your “go to” person when you have important questions later in the admissions process. And remember this: there is nothing insignificant nor too embarrassing to ask. The admissions staff is there to help!

What to do next:
Record your visit. Make notes as soon as you are able. The more campuses you visit, the more they will begin to blend together, especially from memory. Take pictures to give yourself a visual index of what you’ve seen to avoid confusion later.

And finally:
Enjoy the process. It can be easy to get lost in the excitement and have that energy turn into anxiety. Relax. Start the search early. Visit during the school year to witness the campus’s true environment. Trust your senses and take notes.

As you map your college visit road trip, include a few of Michigan’s top 14 private colleges and universities on your list. These schools are purposefully smaller and emphasize “community over crowds.” Often comparable in cost to Michigan’s public institutions, the independents boast higher four-year graduation rates, outstanding faculty who help students forge their own paths, and smaller class sizes for a truly unique and personal experience.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.

Your One-Stop, College Admissions Connection: Virtual College Fair

We’ve said it before.  The best way to choose your own path is to visit a college campus… or three.  Breathe the air.  Wander the student center.  Sit in on a lecture.  Chat up a few professors.  Grab a meal in the dining hall.  Stroll through the quad.

But the college search doesn’t usually start with a visit to campus.  You might begin by looking at websites or admissions booklets, or attending a college fair to learn more.  Pixels and pages are a start, but nothing beats talking to a person, and college fairs can be time consuming to attend.  Now, there’s a solution!

Enter the Virtual College Fair.  It’s never been easier to connect with a college admissions office and get your big questions answered.

The Virtual College Fair offers free access to video recordings and live streams from Michigan’s top private colleges and universities.  Watch the recordings, pick your favorites (or pick them all!), and then register – individually or with your family – to attend a live and interactive web-based Q&A session with admissions and other college representatives.  Learn more here.

Like what you hear?  Reach out to the college to continue the conversation and maybe even schedule a visit!

Upcoming Live Q&A Sessions

December 4, 2018 at 7 PM:  Alma College
December 4, 2018 at 8 PM:  Aquinas College
December 5 , 2018 at 7 PM:  Madonna University 
December 6, 2018 at 7 PM:  University of Detroit Mercy 
December 6, 2018 at 8 PM:  Calvin College
December 11, 2018 at 7 PM:  Albion College 
December 12, 2018 at 7 PM:  Spring Arbor University
December 13, 2018 at 7 PM:  Hillsdale College 

Kalamazoo Promise Makes Private Education Within Reach

kalamazoo_promise_colleges

Almost everyone nowadays can cite scary statistics when it comes to the cost of college education.

Nationwide, the average annual tuition at private schools has more than tripled in 30 years jumping to $32,405 this year, according to inflation-adjusted statistics from the College Board.

But the cost of an elite private school education is nothing for students in Kalamazoo public schools.

You read that right.

The cost of Michigan’s 15 independent colleges and universities is zero for students who graduated from Kalamazoo Public Schools and attended since kindergarten. Graduates who attended since at least seventh grade will receive 75 percent of their tuition.

The Kalamazoo Promise is a revolutionary program that is changing lives and putting college in reach for 5,000 eligible graduates since it was launched and funded by anonymous donors in 2005.

The schools now send 85 percent of students to college, whose graduates can expect to earn $1 million more over their lifetime than peers whose education stopped at high school.

And what an education they can get, especially at Michigan’s independents: Adrian College, Albion College, Alma College, Aquinas College, Calvin College, Hillsdale College, Hope College, Kalamazoo College, Marygrove College, Olivet College, the University of Detroit Mercy, Andrews University, Madonna University, Siena Heights University and Spring Arbor University.

The schools pride themselves on helping students forge their own path. Classes are taught by professors, not teaching assistants, with average class sizes of just 17.5 students.

The independents open doors to a host of careers, from business and engineering to education and nursing, supported by a nurturing network of alumni who have become leaders in their fields.

And the independent colleges look like the world around them. One in 4 students at Michigan private colleges and universities is African American, American Indian, Asian, Hispanic or Latino.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.

Madonna University Teams with Salad Chain for Real-World Learning Project

MadonnaBigSalad

Lettuce be real: College isn’t all book learning.

Awful pun, we know. But it’s true: No matter how awesome the professors or how much you cram, there’s only so much you can learn in the classroom.

Sometimes, you need to go into the kitchen. Or the salad bar.

In a unique melding of academic and real-world learning, Madonna University is teaming with The Big Salad for a semester-long project. The “Seal the Deal” project involves creating, designing and marketing a menu item for the restaurant chain.

Four teams of students meet in the classroom and at The Big Salad in Novi. Next week, they’re beginning to market their creations and a winning team will be crowned on April 11.

“Students are showing great enthusiasm for this opportunity to put into practice what they are learning in the classroom about marketing,” said Nidhal Bouazizi, an assistant professor of International Business who is handling the project.

It’s not unusual for Madonna. The university typically partners with businesses for projects that run in three semester-long stages, said Cleamon Moorer, dean of Madonna’s School of Business.

“It’s all contingent on what the client wants,” he told Crain’s Detroit Business.

“If they want marketing research, we’ll have our marketing classes do that for them and they’ll be given the opportunity to implement what they find.”

Is it unorthodox? Maybe a little. But it’s also great fun, hugely beneficial and recognizes what worldwide industry leaders are beginning to recognize.

“Business needs real life training,” said John Bornoty, CEO of Grosse Pointe Farms-based The Big Salad.

Doing whatever it takes is a hallmark of Madonna University and Michigan’s top 15 private colleges and universities.

The schools pride themselves on not only providing a world-class education but preparing students for their chosen fields. A deep and committed network of alumni — along with award-winning faculty — are there to help students every step of the way as they forge their own path.

Class sizes are small. Community is cherished. It’s an experience that simply isn’t available at traditional universities. And despite what you may have heard, independents are often less expensive and boast higher four-year graduation rates than four-year institutions.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.

Michigan Private Colleges Rank High in Social Mobility

Study after study has shown that college not only transforms minds, but it lives as well as wallets.

College graduates make 25 percent more per week than the national average, and unemployment rates are significantly lower the more education is attained, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In short, college is “a ticket to the middle class,” according to Bridge Magazine.

But getting admitted to one and finishing are two different things, and it’s no secret that some colleges do far better jobs of helping low-income students graduate and get jobs.

The online magazine analyzed federal data to rank colleges on how they promote social mobility — offering tuition breaks, mentors and other aid for low-income students, as well as how long it took them to narrow the income gap with rich students after graduation.

The results? Michigan’s small, private colleges ranked the near the top.

Adrian College was the top-ranked private college in the state, enrolling the seventh-highest percentage of low-income students and graduating nearly 60 percent of them.

Madonna University was not far behind, offering low tuition for low-income students (less than $9,000) and helping them make similar salaries with high-income students 10 years after enrollment.

Olivet College and Spring Arbor University were near the tops in enrolling poor students, while Alma College, Hope College and Calvin College ranked in the top six in graduation rates.

Kalamazoo College, inexplicably, was left out of Bridge’s analysis altogether. But using its metrics, would have scored in the top 10 for graduation rates and average earnings.

The rankings reflect a deep commitment by Michigan’s top 15 private colleges and universities to improving the lives of all students and offering a path to improve lives.

Contrary to popular belief, tuition is on par with many public universities. That’s because students receive far more financial aid. At most of our schools, more than 93 percent receive aid, bringing the cost of a world-class education within reach.

Students at Michigan’s independents typically graduate in four years, rather than five or six at public schools. That means they are earning a salary while their peers at big state universities are wracking up more student debt.

That also means they have a two-year head start on their careers, which is yet another way Michigan independents help students forge their own path.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.

Holidays are About Tradition at Michigan’s Top 15 Independent Colleges

Holidays are all about tradition. And big state schools certainly have their own. Unfortunately, they often go something like this: Cram for finals, throw dirty clothes in a bag and say hurried goodbyes to your dorm mates before hopping in a car and leaving town.

Michigan’s independent colleges and universities do things a bit different. And they’re proud of that. Built around community and cohesion, the schools embrace all the wonder and tradition the holiday season has to offer, from choir concerts and campus sing-alongs to tree decorating parties.

At Hope College, students and community members have gathered for eight decades for Christmas Vespers. The first event was held just hours before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, and held every year since. That first year, 500 people came. It’s grown every year since to the point where people start inquiring in August about tickets for the choir and symphony concert.

For more than 40 years, Albion College has gathered for the Festival of Lessons and Carols, which features several choirs and intersperses carols with readings that trace Biblical history. For decades, the popular event has begun with “Once in Royal David’s City” and ended with a candlelit rendition of “Silent Night.”

For 22 years, Alma College’s Festival of Carols gathers 110 members of the Glee Club, College Chorale and Alma Choir for carols and candle lighting to commemorate both Christmas and Hanukkah.

Spring Arbor University’s Hanging of Greens has brought the campus and community together for 15 years, with an event that includes caroling, tree-lighting, hot chocolate and horse carriage rides.

A new tradition continues at the University of Detroit-Mercy, which produced a live version of holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” for the second time this month. The twist is the play is produced as a radio show, featuring a handful of actors playing dozens of characters in the Frank Capra classic before a live audience.

At Aquinas College, the college gathers every year to light a Christmas tree that was planted in 2010 by the Student Senate to reflect the school’s commitment to the environment.

Sound like a lot? We’re just getting started.

Kalamazoo College has celebrated BachFest Christmas, a concert of the famed composer, for every year since 1970. Calvin College has the Sleigh Ride Around the World, which combines Yuletide movies projected on the big screen with Christmas classics from the college’s Wind Ensemble.

We could go on and on.

Adrian College organizes a campus wide party. Marygrove University, Siena Heights and Olivet College host a Christmas concert. Andrews University has a tree-lighting and Christmas concert.

Madonna University puts on the “Christmas Carol” play. Hillsdale College has both a concert and annual Christmas video from its president.

Some of the events may seem similar, but what makes them different – and so special – is that they’ve become part of the fabric of the individual communities around them.

That’s because Michigan’s 15 independent colleges and universities are enmeshed in their cities and towns and realize that college is about experience almost as much as it is about learning.

National leaders in education, the schools emphasize community over crowds and a spirit of togetherness and cohesion that just doesn’t exist at big state schools.
With low class sizes and award-winning faculty, the schools are proud that students forge lifelong bonds with professors.

Often less expensive than public institutions, the independents boast higher four-year graduation rates for a truly unique and affordable experience.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.

Madonna University Reaches Out to Help Haiti

The world was horrified when a powerful earthquake rocked Haiti in 2010. Within days, 220,000 were dead and $13.5 billion in charitable donations rolled into the tiny, chronically poor island nation.

And then, after a few months, the news shifted, sympathies waned and donations slowed. Haiti returned to “normal”: Devastating poverty, corruption and illness.

While others left, Madonna University put down roots.

The Michigan-based university is marking the fourth year of its Haiti Education Leadership Program (HELP), an online business administration program that teaches English-speaking Haitians.

“It sounds cliché, but you help one person at a time,” said Donald Conrad, a business professor who helped found the program.

The three-year program graduates about 25 students per year and is believed to be one of the only programs of its kind in Haiti. The program trains students on business practices with the goal of expanding the tiny middle class in Haiti.

“We want those in the middle to have the chance to create successful businesses and have good careers working for the government or organizations in Haiti,” said Sister Rose Marie Kujawa, who created the program and retired as Madonna University’s president this year.

Organizers are in Haiti for the long haul. They hope to expand the program to include new studies such as hospitality management.

The benevolence is typical of Michigan’s top 14 independent colleges and universities. Because helping students follow the right path and fulfill their passion is what they do.

All emphasize community over crowds and a spirit of togetherness and cohesion that just doesn’t exist at big state schools. With low class sizes and award-winning faculty, the schools are proud that students forge lifelong bonds with professors.

Often less expensive than public institutions, the independents boast higher four-year graduation rates for a truly unique and affordable experience.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.

Marygrove’s Rita Fields beats the odds, becomes an inspiration

Rita_Fields_MCA

Rita Fields could have given up. Or been a statistic.

Instead, she became an inspiration.

A single mother at 17, she was raised by a schizophrenic violent mother. For a spell she was homeless, literally eating food from a dumpster and sleeping behind a Kroger. Somehow, through prayer and grit, she persevered to complete her GED and pressed forth to provide a better life for her son, Alaric.

Fields knew that life went through college. Most weren’t willing to accommodate her.

But Marygrove College in Detroit saw something in Fields, offering her financial aid and other support.

She flourished, earning a double major in psychology and English, winning honors and setting a school record by taking 10 classes in one semester and received in A in each. At her side throughout the incredible journey was Alaric, riding the bus with her and sitting at her side a classes.

“At Marygrove, I felt valued. I was able to connect with people and interact with professors who cared deeply about their students and wanted to support them,” Fields says.

“The program was tailored to support the working individual — so the ease of access was tremendously important for me.”

Today, she is known as Dr. Fields and is a business professor at another MCA member school – Madonna University.

She’ll share her story Thursday at TEDxDetroit, a daylong conference devoted to big ideas in technology, entertainment and design at the Fox Theatre in Detroit.

“Marygrove greatly contributed to the person that I have become. My education not only gave me knowledge, it also largely rebuilt my shattered self-esteem,” Fields says.

It’s a heart-warming story and there are many more like it at Marygrove and Michigan’s top 15 independent colleges and universities.

The schools take pride in finding and nurturing promise. Purposefully small, they prefer community over crowds. Unlike big state schools that pack hundreds into lecture halls, classes are small so faculty can work individually with students.

Like Fields, the path may not always be straight. But it’s one that leads to great things.
And despite what you may have heard, independents are often less expensive and boast higher four-year graduation rates than four-year institutions.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.

Madonna University adds sports programs to forge community

MadonnaCru

College is about more than just studying. It’s about finding your own path while being part of something bigger than just yourself — entwining yourself in a community of like-minded souls.

At Madonna University, community is taken seriously. And like other colleges, the Michigan school is doing so in part by adding athletics.

This month, President Michael Grandillo announced the addition of eight sports — men’s and woman’s bowling, lacrosse, indoor and outdoor track and field. They’re the first additions since 2005, bringing the total number of Madonna Crusaders teams to 19.

“Participation in athletics and student organizations enriches the college experience, which is why we are proud to offer Madonna students more choices for learning outside the classroom,” Grandillo said.

The announcement follows years of planning and investment at Madonna. The sports began as club activities but mushroomed in popularity. In recent years, the university has added synthetic turf field at its athletic complex and installed lacrosse lines.

The moves comes as more students than ever are playing sports in college. From 2006 to 2011, the number of schools where a third or more students are involved in athletics increased to 124 from 96, according to the Associated Press.

That’s because, unlike few other endeavors, sports forge unique bonds. And, unlike big state universities, students at smaller schools like Madonna can play on teams without riding the bench — even if they haven’t been in training since they were 2 years old.

“Kids coming here know they aren’t going to play professional sports,” one student said. “They play for fun. They play for their teammates. They play for their school.”

Passion and community are big parts of the experience at Madonna and the rest of Michigan’s top 15 independent colleges and universities. Class sizes are small enough so students not only know their professors, they form lifetime bonds. Professors pride themselves on working closely with students to help them forge their own path, buck conventional wisdom and find a new way.

It’s an experience that simply isn’t available at traditional universities. And despite what you may have heard, independents are often less expensive and boast higher four-year graduation rates than four-year institutions.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.